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High School League sued over transfer policy

Posted by: Alejandra Matos Updated: December 17, 2013 - 5:24 PM

The family of a high school hockey player who's diagnosed with ADHD and depression has filed a federal lawsuit after the Minnesota State High School League said its transfer policy prohibited him from playing varsity at his new school.

The student’s parents transferred the student, identified only as J.A., to Achiever Academy in Vadnais Heights “based upon the recommendation of J.A’s treating physician.”

The student “earned a position” on Achiever’s varsity hockey team, but was not allowed to play because of the league’s transfer policy, the lawsuit said. The policy does not allow students who transfer schools to participate in varsity sports for a year, as a disincentive for students to transfer solely to play in a more competitive program. They must either play junior varsity or play at their previous school.

The complaint says the league denied the student a hearing over the issue “because there is no documentation of intolerable conditions at the sending school,” despite the ADHD and depression diagnoses.

Whistleblower reported earlier this month how parents and advocacy groups have raised concerns that the league is not accommodating students with a documented mental health or learning disability.

The league’s president David Stead previously said “this office does not discriminate against kids that have learning disabilities.”

Neither the attorney for J.A. nor a league attorney could be reached for comment Tuesday. The lawsuit seeks to immediately allow him to play varsity and recover his attorney fees. 

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